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Battle over the baby bottle: Should containers with bisphenol A be banned?

A number of states are moving to curtail the sale and use of bottles that have this chemical. But industry groups say BPA's risks are overblown.

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This week the California Senate passed a bill to outlaw the sale of sippy cups and baby bottles that contain bisphenol A, or BPA, adding momentum to a campaign against the chemical that's gaining support in statehouses across the US.

In recent weeks, Minnesota outlawed baby-food containers made with the chemical that some scientific studies suggest is a health hazard for young children as well as adults. Chicago decided to nix baby bottles made with BPA from city shelves, and a ban in Connecticut passed the legislature and awaits the governor's signature.

In total, some 55 bills in 20 states aim to curtail the use or sale of baby-food jars and cans of formula that contain BPA, which is widely used to harden plastic bottles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Urged by consumer groups and a growing number of concerned parents, state lawmakers have taken on the cause with such gusto that the chemical industry and bottle and can manufacturers have been caught off guard, says Doug Farquhar of NCSL. "I don't think they anticipated this would be one of their bigger issues," he says.

And California is shaping up to be the key battleground state in this growing battle over the baby bottle.

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